Sat | Jan 16, 2021

Jamaica pursuing bilateral talks to increase COVID-19 vaccine access

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2021 | 4:44 PM
Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton - File photo.

Jamaica is pursuing plans to obtain safe vaccines from China, India, and Cuba to treat COVID-19.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton told Parliament a short while ago that the Government would be seeking to enter into bilateral meetings with those countries to access the vaccines if they meet specific standards.

At present, China has four vaccines near approval stage while India has two vaccines that are at the final stages of approval.

At the same time, Cuba has four vaccines, one of which is now going through phase three trials.

The Ministries of Health and Wellness and Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade are to hold talks with the countries to secure additional access for safe vaccines.

Tufton told his parliamentary colleagues that his ministry will maintain a very rigorous process of review for all medical supplies administered locally.

The health and wellness minister also disclosed that the first batch of vaccines to be obtained through the COVAX facility, which are due in April 2021, has been increased from one per cent to five per cent.

Tufton said that a total of approximately 292,000 doses are expected which will vaccinate approximately 146,000 Jamaicans.

Under the first phase of the programme, priority will be given to the following groups:

· Healthcare personnel

· Persons 60 years and older

· Jamaica Defence Force

· Jamaica Constabulary Force

· Jamaica Fire Brigade

· Department of Correctional Services

· Passport, Immigration & Citizenship Agency

· Infirmaries

· Members of Parliament, Senators, parish council representatives, and other senior members of the State.

· Residents and staff of nursing homes

· Institutionalised individuals (persons in penal institutions).

 This represents approximately 440,000 individuals.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.